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How to Move to France from the USA

Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Two girls having a picnic outdoors in the park by the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Paris in the US is a fantastic city, but Paris in France is a whole different story. With different cultures, arts, work environments, homes, etc. It is not too surprising that the allure of Paris attracts many American citizens looking to make the capital their new home and move to France. What is more, is that France is a country that is not only home to Paris. There are also other cities, even towns such as Les Baux-de-Provence. Great for those who want the rural lifestyle in France. And, if you want to make the move from the US to France then we will tell you how.

Legal Documents for Migration to France

A magnifying glass on an visa application form next to a cup of coffee and a passport with coins on it

When it comes to moving to France from the USA you would have to get all the legal documents in order. Such as your passport and visa. If you are planning on a vacation in France, then you can just get a three-month visa. However, if you are planning to live in France then you must apply for a long-term visa that has to be renewed every year. Furthermore, you would have to live there for three to 10 years to be able to receive what is known as an indefinite leave to remain. As well as obtaining a French driver’s license after you have relocated to the country.  

If you are planning to make the move to France, then you would have to start your long-term visa process as soon as possible before you even step on the plane. You do this by contacting the French embassy or consulate in your country and getting an application form for you to fill out. This form will let you explain how you expect to financially support yourself while working and living in France. When the form is filled you hand it in. It usually takes about 6 months to get a reply. If you get accepted, you have another three months to sort out your moving plans.

However, you would want to find a sponsorship either through a family member or your employer if you are moving for business reasons. You can start with a tourist visa and transaction into a one-year visa once the 3 month is up. But, make sure that you have a permanent sponsorship/ job once your tourist visa expires.

Vaccination is Obligatory in France

Woman standing in front of a blue background with a bandaid on her arm, taking off her mask after vaccination

Outside of getting a visa there are many documents that you should have ready for your big move to France. Such as school records for your kids, passports for your whole family including the pets. As well as vaccinations for the following that are obligatory in France:

  • Covid-19
  • Hepatitis A 
  • Hepatitis B 
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Measles 
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps and Rubella (Mmr)
  • Chickenpox 
  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) 
  • Shingles
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia

French Health Care

Male nurses looking at patient’s records in France

One of the great things about living in France is that everyone has access to healthcare as it is a requirement to live in France. Universal healthcare is a thing in France, where anyone has the right to it who has lived in the country for three months. It is after this period that you can apply for coverage.  

However, if you are employed in France or pay into the French social security then you are automatically eligible for French health care regardless of how long you have lived there. But, if you are not covered you still have access to emergency services at any time of the day and night.  

Furthermore, if you are ineligible for universal health care then you can go after a few reasonably-priced private insurance plans.

Cost of Living in France

A couple looking over bills thinking about how to save money

It is important to have/ find a job in France not only for the sponsorship, but also, obviously, to support yourself and your family. The cost of living in France, as you know, can vary depending on where in France you live. Paris is known for its fairly big price tags while the rural towns are not expensive for living. Also, depending on where you do your shopping can also indicate how much money you have to spend in the country of love.  

For example, out-of-town stores such as Carrefour will be more expensive while stores in towns will be cheaper while also offering “quirkiness”. Other things to remember is that you get a baguette at a boulangerie, cigarettes at a tabac, chocolate at a confiserie and meat at a boucherie. 

However, France is filled with wonderful markets where you can get fresh food, and see the culture that runs in the vein of the French. Outdoor ones offer the best fresh pickings as well as bargains, as long as you get there before 1 pm aka closing time. The Marché d’Aligre is known as being the busiest yet cheapest marketplace where you can buy poultry, cheeses, and meat.

Furthermore, when it comes to renting in France you would also have to account for maintenance, as well as other facilities of the building. Such as staircase cleaning, elevator repairs, concierge charges, electricity, water, etc. The average maintenance cost or charges for an apartment in Paris per month is about $29, 75 per square meter.  

The utility bill is another story where it depends on the size of the home, plus the climate. For example, in a typical town gas and electricity can be about $50 per month in summer and spring, but $100 in winter. Keep the climate in mind when looking for a home in certain locations in France.

Example of a Cost of Living in France

Here is a handy break down the cost of living in France monthly for two people: 

  • Rent: $800 to $1200
  • Gas for heating: $59
  • Electricity: $48
  • Internet: $32
  • Groceries: $600
  • Transportation (car maintenance and diesel/petrol): $175
  • Health insurance top-up (hospital-only plan): $29

Smooth Long Distance Moves with Shyft

Get a French Bank Account

An bird’s eye view, close up of woman’s hands holding a cup full of Euros

One of the first things you would want to do after moving to France besides unpacking and getting your license is to open a bank account. It is not very difficult, but timing is everything. This is because banks in France usually close in the middle of the day as well as over the weekend.  

Here is where the tricky part comes in. For one, you would have to have a permanent address to open up a bank account if you are a non-resident of France. However, you also need a bank account to obtain a permanent address. You can try to get around it by having a talk to the bank or finding a lenient landlord willing to do you a solid. Till then, best to hide your money under the mattress. Best not to keep it on you, just in case of pickpockets.

Find Home in France

A landscape of traditional old houses in France

Since France is a lover of expats you should not have too much stress finding a home to live in France. However, the majority of homes in the cities are that of apartments where you can find furnished or unfurnished ones. You can even find roommates to live with where you can pay for monthly or yearly rent. You can also check out:

To help you find a rental home suited for your needs in the French cities. However, if you are eyeing the countryside then you better start looking now. While you are more likely to find a home with a garden, getting it can be a different story. But, if you do not try you will never know.

When The Papers Are Done, Move with Shyft

Back of a woman walking down the streets in France holding flowers and baguette

As soon as you get your visa, and all the paperwork is sorted out then you should get to organizing your move to France. However, instead of doing it yourself, you can work with Shyft to do the heavy lifting of organization for you. Shyft is a fintech company that organizes moves for a living. We will do everything to help you get to your French home without adding stress to the relocation process. All you have to do is to let us know where you are moving to, from where, how many members, and when.  

From this information, your Move Assistant will contact you through the free downloadable  ShyftNext App which slides in nicely on your mobile. This is a video call where you can see the person who will assist your entire moving process. It is also during this very first call that your Move Assistant takes down your inventory list so you do not have to.

What is more, is that this list is sent your way within half an hour after the call ends. Therefore, you have a chance to check everything on the list, add some items, take away some and then send it back.  

When your Move Assistant (who is only helping you) gets the list and knows the details of your move, they can present all this information securely on a safe platform. This platform is where legitimate, and experienced moving companies come to bid on projects. These movers have been verified by us, putting your safety first, with your ease of mind also first.  

During this experience, we gather more than three quotes from different companies which we send to you. You decide which one is the best option for your move, as well as to see what else they have to offer.

Online Marketplace and Virtual Cards

By the way, going with a moving company for an overseas move is a lot easier and safer than doing it alone. For one they could also help you with the paperwork and getting through customs without too many issues.  

While we are gathering quotes, you can check out the Shyft Marketplace tab on the site. This is where you can find a range of items as well as where you can find places to live in when you are in France. And, all the items on this tab come with a discount.  

Furthermore, if you are a company planning to make the move to France, then we have your back, your employee’s backs, all of them, and a shiny digital Shyft Card for you to access. Every employee will get their own Move Assistant to give all their attention to the individual’s relocation.

The Shyft Card is a masterpiece of online tech that lets employers securely, and quickly transfer relocation allowance directly to every employee making the move to France on behalf of the business. Plus, employers can keep up to date with the easy to use table to see where and how the funds are doing. 

Regardless, if it is a business move or a personal one, we are on call every day, every night, and every hour. So, whenever you have a question, need tips, give us a call, we are there to help you. And, people that have worked with us to make their move easier also managed to save about $600 on their relocation. You have nothing to lose except the stress of moving overseas.  

Therefore, book a French class, grab a little dog, and get ready to enter the land of the wine, fashion, food, and culture that is France with Shyft by your side getting you there safely.

A magnifying glass over a map of the metro of Paris